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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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As the global community is striving to achieve joint development in the 21st century, the importance of development cooperation is ever increasing. After transforming from an LDC to a member of the OECD/DAC in half a century, Korea is now serving as a bridge between developing countries and advanced countries as ‘Grateful Korea,’ and paying back the global community for assistance it previously received.

In 2009, when Korea joined the OECD/DAC, Korea’s ODA grew in quantity and quality through continuous efforts to expand the budget of international development cooperation projects, improved systems of project implementation, adjustment of credit assistance proportion and so forth.

These achievements were possible because KOICA supported its ODA partner countries to become self-sufficient, pursued universal values such as humanitarianism and human rights, and strived to carry out development cooperation projects that corresponded with global standards. Moreover, these results would not have been possible without the participation of the Korean public. Koreans proudly worked on-site at international development cooperation projects and enhance their country’s global status.

KOICA’s ODA projects are carried out by the general public, private corporations, civic groups, and government agencies under the theme of ‘Grateful Korea.’ Members of the Korean public take part in diverse development cooperation projects by serving as overseas volunteers in the World Friends Korea program, serving on the mid- and long-term advisory committees as World Friends Advisors, and by participating in international cooperation internships. Various private corporations and government agencies are carrying out development cooperation projects in partnership with KOICA. NGOs are also participating in different types of public-private partnership projects with KOICA, which contribute to the instantaneous effects for the local people.

1. World Friends Korea

The overseas volunteer program is a major initiative that invites public participation in KOICA’s work. By dispatching personnel from different walks of life who are interested in sharing and volunteering, Korea has been able to transmit its development experiences face-to-face. It is therefore a human resource exchange program that has promoted the universal value of mutual prosperity.

During the past 20 years, this program has been highlighted as‘ grass root cooperation’due to the ways these volunteers worked side-by-side with the people of the partner countries. Upon the foundation of KOICA in 1991, it overtook the overseas volunteer programs which had been overseen by UNESCO. Since KOICA dispatched its first team of 37 volunteers it has sent 7,762 people to 61 countries as of 2010.
 
[Figure 1-1] The First WFK Photo Contest Grand Prize With all my mighty strength
The First WFK Photo Contest Grand Prize With all my mighty strength
■ Ms. Lee Jung-im’s Grand Prize winning entry in the First WFK Photo Contest held in 2010. Ms. Lee was a volunteer teacher who worked at Case des tout-petits Touba Ndoron in Kaolack, an area about 3-4 hours away from the capital of Senegal.

Increasing public interest in overseas volunteering and a higher demand from developing countries for volunteers have caused KOICA to increase the number of volunteers it dispatches. Between 2000 and 2004, the average number of volunteers dispatched by KOICA annually rose from 220 to 720. Since 2008, based on the government’s“ Initiative for Training Global Young Leaders,”around 1,000 overseas volunteers have been dispatched annually.

KOICA has also diversified its types of volunteers in order to facilitate broader public participation. Its volunteer teams now include team based volunteer groups, senior experts, and NGO volunteer teams. KOICA has also conducted institutional renovation in its volunteering programs by holding year-round volunteer recruitment, introducing an information system for administrative support for volunteer programs, adopting a volunteer team qualification certification system, and sponsoring scholarship programs for returning volunteers.

The year of 2009 marked a historical milestone in Korea’s overseas volunteering activities. The Korean government launched “World Friends Korea (WFK),”an integrated government-run overseas volunteer program. By creating WFK, the Korean government aims to unify different volunteer programs that were separately carried out by various government agencies, such as the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the Ministry of Science, Education, and Technology, under a single volunteer system. As a result, WKF has unified overseas volunteer programs implemented by four ministries and six organizations. KOICA has served as a mediator for WFK by overseeing and distributing funds and establishing the overall policies of the network. This consolidation is expected to coordinate scattered volunteer activities and prevent the implementation of programs from overlapping, thereby solving aid fragmentation. The initiative also is expected to promote a consistent and consolidated national brand image.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

  ##PAGE##  2. Partners for ODA

1) Engaging Specialized Organizations to Enhance the Effectiveness of International Development Cooperation
With the expansion of the ODA program came an improvement in both the quality and quantity of projects and recognition of the need for competent organizations specializing in planning and management.

KOICA introduced the systems of Information Strategy Planning (ISP) in 2002, Construction Management (CM) in 2003, and Project Management Consulting (PMC) in 2005. By utilizing these systematic frameworks and the expertise and knowledge Korea has accumulated through its rapid economic development, KOICA is promoting a qualitative improvement in its implementation of ODA projects. KOICA’s projects also function as a springboard for domestic organizations wanting to make their way into the global community.

(1) Project Management Consulting (PMC)
Before Project Management Consulting (PMC) was introduced, KOICA had implemented projects by selecting outside organizations and contracting out elements of each project as necessary, such as training and dispatch of experts. With the introduction of PMC to improve work efficiency, KOICA now contracts out the overall process of implementing and consulting for a project including the dispatch of experts, invitation of trainees, and collection of equipment and material. This meant that many public and private organizations are able to participate in KOICA’s development projects as principal agents. They are contracted to actually plan and manage the input elements in a systematic way. By introducing PMC, KOICA created a tool for implementing projects with more expertise and also established an efficient management system for increasing the number of projects.

Moreover, KOICA has concentrated its ODA projects on sectors in which Korea has a comparative advantage, according to the strategy of ‘Selection and Focus.’This strategy aims to differentiate Korea from other advanced donor countries and develop a Korean model for aid. The participation of various experts and specialized organizations that led the economic development of Korea was a key factor in the successful implementation of projects.

Since PMC was introduced, many domestic organizations have participated in KOICA’s projects and are now successfully carrying out projects and development studies themselves. So far, an estimated 190 organizations have participated in ODA projects through the PMC
system; the government’s public sector (40%) and private corporations (42%) make up over 80% of the total number of organizations. Initially the government’s public sector had the highest participation, but with increasing numbers of projects and KOICA’s efforts to publicize its projects, private corporations and academia are becoming more active.

(2) Information Strategy Planning (ISP)
In 2002, KOICA introduced a consulting service for establishing information strategies during the planning phase of mid- and long-term information and communication projects. KOICA has specifically applied the methodology of ISP, and recognized the fact that the establishment of ISP entails an analysis of the current information system on a system and network level, and of hardware and software specifications. The results of this analysis will be applied in the planning of ODA projects in the Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) sector. Thus, KOICA is promoting the specialization of project consulting through partnerships with private corporations that are actively participating and cooperating with KOICA.

(3) Construction Management (CM)
Construction Management (CM) is a service that provides comprehensive management of time, cost, quality, and etc., to meet the target of a construction project. Up until 2002, construction projects, including design, contracts, and the selection of builders, were directly managed by KOICA’s staff. Growing consensus on the necessity of construction experts for a systematic management of such projects lead to the introduction of CM in 2003. Since then, the efficiency of KOICA’s overall project management has improved because of enhanced expertise in the management of construction-related input elements and timely management of construction.
CM is involved in many different aspects and phases of KOICA’s construction projects from inception to completion. CM is in charge of the investigation of local construction conditions and regulations, market research on building material prices, research on skilled labor costs, investigating the current status of the project site, reviewing blueprints, support for bidding and contracting process of the general contractor, cost control, process control, quality control, completion management, and post-construction management.

In the early stage CM’s introduction (2003~2006), it was utilized for simple projects such as the construction of schools. But, in its development stage (2007~2009), it evolved as a powerful tool for comprehensive management by assigning construction experts from the initial formation of the project. In addition, 2 or 3 construction projects within one country or region were contracted simultaneously to cut costs and strengthen area-specific expertise of CM and the contractors. In 2010, a construction manual was created for KOICA’s construction project managers to promote expertise and better understanding of the system.

[Figure 2-1] KOICA Program Information Session
KOICA Program Information Session
• The 2010 KOICA program information session on health and education programs
 
2) Promoting Participation in Capacity Development Programs
Many organizations and professionals with area-specific expertise, both Korean and foreign, are participating in capacity development training programs. These programs primarily consist of multi-year country focused trainings for government officials of developing countries in either their home community or in Korea.

KOICA has outsourced its invitational training program for capacity development to specialized organization by sector. Since 1991, an estimated 300 organizations have participated in the training program. Recently, more than 100 organizations participate in the training program every year. In the 1990s, most training programs were carried out by public sector actors, such as government agencies and affiliated organizations. However, in the late 2000s, the participation of private sector actors in the program expanded as public interest and understanding of international development cooperation increased.

From 1991 to 2010, 67% of the organizations participating in the training programs were from the public sector, 16% from the private sector, 15% from the education sector, and 2% were from international organizations.

The public sector participants were mostly government agencies such as the Ministry of Gender, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Office of National Tax Administration, the Korean Customs Service, the Supreme Court of Korea, and the National Police Agency. Private sector participants were various associations and NGOs. Universities accounted for the participants in the education sector, and the international organizations included UNDP, ASEAN, and others focused on on-site local training. Organizations that implement the training programs execute the overall process of planning, management, evaluation, and follow-up in cooperation with KOICA. Thus, these organizations must be equipped with a dedicated team and sufficient human resources to plan and manage training. They must also have specialized knowledge of techniques related to the subject of training, information regarding the current status of the developing country, and understanding of international cooperation projects in order to participate in the KOICA’s training programs.

Domestic organizations that implement training programs in cooperation with KOICA support trainees in strengthening their individual capacities and improving the organizational systems of their home countries. In addition, these projects also create friendly ties between Korea and key personnel in the developing countries, form strong local cooperation networks, allow for discovery of follow-up projects, and enhance the status of Korea in the global community. To enhance the effectiveness of the training projects, KOICA is creating and maintaining close relationships with the organizations that implement the programs as major cooperation partners. This partnership also strengthens the training capacity of these organizations. KOICA hosts regular and non-scheduled meetings with these organizations to discuss the directions and guidelines of training management and to solidify the partnership. Also, these meetings allow KOICA and the partner organizations to discuss difficulties these organizations face in implementing the training programs and brainstorm ideas of how to avoid these problems in the future projects.

The capacity of the partner organizations is a key factor for the effectiveness of the training projects. Therefore, online communities, meetings, and publication of reference materials create an active forum in which these organizations can share information and example cases of successful implementation and results. KOICA maintains each training program for many years in order to provide a stable environment for project participation by the partner organizations. KOICA also uses objective and fair standards for evaluating these organizations so that they can improve their capacity for developing training programs. By promoting continuous reform of the training program system, KOICA helps these organizations to voluntarily improve their capacities in implementing the training programs.

[Figure 2-2] KOICA’s Training Program wins the Prime Minister Prize (July 1, 2011)
KOICA’s Training Program wins the Prime Minister Prize (July 1, 2011)
• KOICA’s Invitation Training program receives the 2010 Best Policy Award organized by the Ministry of Gender Equality and wins the Prime Minister Prize on the 16th Gender Week Commemoration Ceremony.
 
In its partner countries, KOICA has expanded strategic partnerships from the central government to local governments and actively utilizes specialized local industries, outstanding local human resources, indigenous commodities and culture, and the natural environment in its training projects to enhance its effectiveness. KOICA’s partnership with the private sector is continuously expanding and the diversity and creativity of the private sector is efficiently utilized in cooperation projects.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

  ##PAGE## 3. Building Development Cooperation Research Network

To keep up with the trends in international development cooperation research, KOICA is conducting a variety of ODA policy studies in cooperation with Korean academia. KOICA carefully analyzes current trends in the global community’s policy discussions and in domestic demands for ODA policy development. Based on these trends, it selects annual research projects to carry out with university research institutes, government-affiliated research institutes, and private research institutes. One of the biggest benefits of funding these academic research projects is that KOICA is able to share policy research with external organizations for mutual benefit. The external organizations can improve their understanding of development cooperation projects through discussions with KOICA in the process of conducting the research. KOICA can also gain from the knowledge and expertise of the external organizations in specific sectors and seek out ways to utilize this information in future development cooperation projects.

In addition, KOICA has been supporting academic activities related to ODA research to invigorate development cooperation policy discussions and to provide a forum for policy discourse. KOICA supports academic activities closely related to the subject of international development cooperation, such as the study of the MDGs, poverty, health, education, gender equality, governance, climate change and environment, human rights, and peace building. These academic activities usually take the forms of seminars, annual meetings, and forums. KOICA also participates in panel discussions, and strives to enhance the connectivity with, and applicability of, academic research to actual development cooperation projects.

Through this support, KOICA is strengthening the ODA policy network among academics and civic groups in the international development cooperation sector; strengthening the capacity for accumulating, sharing and studying ODA-related knowledge in Korea; and promoting the advancement of ODA policies by mutual cooperation among government, universities, and civic groups. In 2010, measures for supporting academic activities were revised to encourage more systematic and strategic policy research. Thus, the support for academic activities was improved to be more transparent and fair and the results more predictable. Due to these measures, the participation of appropriate organizations increased. In 2010, KOICA supported the academic activities of nine organizations, and in 2011, it supported eight.

As part of the project to raise public awareness of ODA, KOICA has been hosting the “Thesis Competition on International Development Cooperation”for college and graduate students since 2004. By hosting this competition, KOICA has increased the students’interest and understanding of ODA research. The thesis competition is held annually, and its 7th competition was held in 2010. It is drawing great attention from collegiate students all over Korea. The student winners are awarded opportunities to visit KOICA’s development cooperation project sites in ODA partner countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, and the Philippines, and observe the project statuses and results firsthand. Students then share these experiences by publishing academic articles upon their return home.

[Figure 3-1] The Cover of ‘The Future of Korean Development Cooperation’
The Cover of ‘The Future of Korean Development Cooperation’
• A collection of the winning thesis of the 6th KOICA Thesis Competition on International Development Cooperation

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

  ##PAGE## 4. Raising Public Awareness

As the 10th largest economy in the world and a former chair country of the G20 with a Korean citizen as Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Korea is regarded as a new leader in the global community. Consequently, Korea finds it necessary to increase the volume of its ODA to be commensurate with its national status. Since international development cooperation projects are operated with tax money paid by the general public, the general public’s awareness and understanding of ODA is becoming ever more important. KOICA is working hard to publicize that these projects are implemented in partnership with the general public. It is creating more easily understandable and readily accessible information with mass appeal and is setting up various interactive programs.

1) Essay Contest and Photo Contest
“The 1st Essay Contest on International Cooperation”was held in 1998, and over 650 elementary school students participated. These students expressed their thoughts on international development cooperation projects and imagined the future of Korea’s grant aid. Ms. Rhee Heehoh, then the First Lady of Korea, invited the 19 prize winners of the Essay Contest to Cheong Wa Dae. She praised these children, saying, “You have received this honor today because you have kind hearts and the desire to help and understand other people,”and further encouraged them, saying,“ You will be our new leaders for international cooperation in the 21st century.”

[Figure 4-1] The winners of the KOICA Essay Contest visiting a Program Site
The winners of the KOICA Essay Contest visiting a Program Site

An estimated 1,700 elementary school students entered The 13th Essay Contest in 2010. To publicize WFK’s volunteer experiences and share the photos from KOICA’s international development cooperation project sites, KOICA also sponsored the“ Essay and Photo Contest for KOICA’s International Cooperation,”and more than 100 essays and 400 photos sharing meaningful experiences and stories were entered. In 2011, KOICA will host an invitational competition for creating a new logo to reflect KOICA’s image. Through such competitions, KOICA hopes to raise public awareness of KOICA’s grant aid and activities and encourage citizens to participate firsthand in its promotion.

2) Publication of KOICA s Footprints across the Globe
In 2009, KOICA published a book providing a brief history of Korea’s ODA and grant aid since 1991. This was the first comprehensive report on KOICA’s ODA and covers around 500 projects in over 70 partner countries. On September 29, 2009, the publication party for. KOICA’s Footprints Across the Globe was held at the Hotel Renaissance Seoul in Yeoksamdong. Around 200 guests attended the party, including the Chairperson of the National Brand Committee, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the President of the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Cooperation (KCOC), the Secretary-General of Global Civic Sharing (GCS), and representatives from various social spectrums.

[Figure 4-2] The cover of KOICA s Footprints across the Globe
The cover of KOICA s Footprints across the Globe

「KOICA’s Footprints Across the Globe」 describes in detail the 495 projects which KOICA has implemented so far, and reports country specific progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This publication is not only a record of the hard work that KOICA’s members and staffs have put into ODA projects, but is also recognition of the general public’s support for grant aid in Korea and how everyone’s hope for a better world is being realized.

In 2010, the English version of 「KOICA’s Footprints Across the Globe」  was published and it informed global audiences of how Korea is the only country to transform from an aid recipient country to an aid donor and how Korea has been helping developing countries based on this experience through its ODA projects.

3) Appointment and Support of Goodwill Ambassadors
On October 23, 2008, KOICA appointed TV personality Ms. Park Jungsook as its first Goodwill Ambassador for public relations. Park had been sponsoring a child in the Philippines and expressed high interests in volunteering projects. In her acceptance speech, Park said, “I once visited the National University of Laos and noticed computers that were hard to find in anywhere else in Laos. I asked about it and they said that the computers had been provided by KOICA.”

Mr. Hong Jung-wook, a member of the foreign affairs committee at the National Assembly of Korea became the second Goodwill Ambassador on September 29, 2009, and Ms. Han Go-eun, an actress, and congressperson Ms. Cho Yoon-sun were both appointed Goodwill Ambassadors in July 2010. Quoting the African proverb“ If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, Ms. Cho declared that her main role as a Goodwill Ambassador for KOICA is to convince everyone that Korea is “an eternal partner for aid”. She also promised that, as KOICA’s Goodwill Ambassador, she would assume an active role at the upcoming G20 Summit, a meeting which would further development issues in LDCs and promote corporate social responsibility. The first“ International Development Cooperation Day”was declared on November 25, 2010, and two new Goodwill Ambassadors were appointed. Finding that the general public’s interest is critical for the success of ODA activities, KOICA has appointed photographer Mr. Kim Jung-man and mountaineer Mr. Um Hong-gil, both well-known public figures, as the new Goodwill Ambassadors.

These six Goodwill Ambassadors are highly reputable and active in their own fields of specialty. As KOICA’s spokespeople, they are responsible for publicizing Korea’s international development cooperation projects. The newly appointed Kim and Um both praised the KOICA volunteers they had met abroad for their hard work and pledged to do their best as Goodwill Ambassadors.

4) Opening of KOICA s Global Village
On June 29, 2010, the “KOICA Global Village” located on the first floor of the KOICA Overseas Volunteers Training Center in Yeomgokdong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, opened its doors. The KOICA Global Village is an exhibition center which provides an arena for understanding and hands-on experience with global cultures, especially those of the developing countries. It aims to enhance the general public’s recognition that ‘the world is our neighborhood,’and that we must work together to solve global problems.

The first exhibition country in the KOICA Global Village was Mongolia, whose people have similar a physical appearance, culture, and language to Koreans. In his congratulatory remarks, the Mongolian Ambassador to Korea said, “Korea has contributed immensely to the development of Mongolia and we are greatly indebted to the passionate efforts of KOICA’s volunteers. I thank you for selecting Mongolia as the first exhibition country.”

KOICA Global Village’s exhibition on Mongolia consisted of four sections which provide information on the country and the global issues it faces. “Loving Developing Countries”was a section where people could enjoy the culture and history of Mongolia and learn about KOICA’s volunteer work there. “Global Thinking”was a hands-on exhibition to help guests understand the gravity of the global issues and problems in Mongolia. “Green Acting”suggested environmentally friendly actions that people can apply to everyday life. Last but not least, “Enjoying Food”introduced dishes from Mongolian cuisine that would appeal to the Korean public.

On October 13th, 2010 the second exhibition in the KOICA Global Village opened with the theme ‘Africa.’The exhibition comprised of three sections: the amazing natural environment of Africa was displayed in‘ Wonderful Africa,’the pains of poverty and diseases were deeply felt in‘ Painful Africa,’and yet, the joyful and positive minds and lives of the African people were presented in ‘Joyful Africa.’The exhibition educated the public on measures for eradicating poverty and diseases in Africa, and delivered great attractions that made deep impressions on the visitors. In addition, a selection of African landscape photographs by Korean photographer Mr. Kim Jung-man and portraits of African people by famed Czech photographer Ms. Liba Taylor were on display. KOICA Global Village has also appointed former baseball player Mr. Yang Jun-hyuk and several other civilians from multicultural families as advisors for multiculturalism. The KOICA Global Village hopes to provide an arena in which youth can learn and experience new things, a nurturing ground for those who wish to build careers in the field of development cooperation, and a learning center for parents who wish to teach their children about global issues. The KOICA Global Village aims to provide easier access to information about KOICA’s ODA projects and show the general public how‘ Grateful Korea’is perceived in the global community.

[Figure 4-3] KOICA Global Village displays The Value of 1.25 Dollars
KOICA Global Village displays The Value of 1.25 Dollars
 
5) International Development Cooperation Day
November 25, 2010, marks the one year anniversary of Korea’s admission to the OECD’s DAC as the 24 member country. KOICA has declared this day as the first “International Development Cooperation Day.” This is meaningful not as just a day of celebration, but also as a day to reflect upon Korea’s current status and the future of international development cooperation for eradicating poverty and enhancing Korea’s national status. Korea’s joining the OECD/DAC, which is perceived as a forum of ‘advanced among advanced countries,’proves to the global community what brilliant advancement Korea has made over the years.

This is significant because a poverty-stricken country among the LDCs that received aid, has turned around in less than half a century to become an advanced country, now donating aid itself.

[Figure 4-4] The Commemoration Ceremony of the First International Development Cooperation Day
The Commemoration Ceremony of the First International Development Cooperation Day

6) Korea Overseas Volunteers Award
In 2006, KOICA established the “Korea Overseas Volunteers Award,” sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to honor volunteers who enhanced both humanity and Korea’s national image through dedicated overseas volunteer work and disaster relief activities. This award recognizes, commends, and encourages the silent volunteers from the private and public sector who work overseas in tough conditions. Not only does this award encourage the volunteers, but it also spreads the value of sharing to the whole society. In 2010, the award ceremony was held on the same day as the declaration of“ International Development Cooperation Day,”so that the true meaning of service and international development cooperation can be considered side by side.
 
[Figure 4-5] Kim Shin-whan wins the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Prize in the second ‘Korea Overseas Volunteers Award’
Kim Shin-whan wins the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Prize in the second ‘Korea Overseas Volunteers Award’
• Mr. Kim Shin-whan, a soccer coach, was awarded the prize in recognition for nurturing children soccer players in East Timor, where soccer has been barely introduced. He is continuing his volunteer work as KOICA;s ‘Developing Country Grant Aid Cooperation Project Mid- and Long-Term Consultant in East Timor.
 
7) International Development Cooperation Internships
KOICA has sponsored International Development Cooperation Internships for college and graduate students since 1997 to train the next generation on ODA projects, increase support and understanding of international development cooperation projects, and foster experts in international development cooperation. By the end of 2010, an estimated 192 students had participated in this program. In its early stage, the program targeted graduate students, graduates with master degrees in international cooperation or area studies, and winners of the National Model UN Congress hosted by KOICA. Since the public awareness of ODA has significantly improved, students with a diverse range of majors are now participating in the program.
 
[Figure 4-6] KOICA s International Development Cooperation Internship Completion Ceremony
KOICA s International Development Cooperation Internship Completion Ceremony
 
Currently, the International Development Cooperation Internship targets undergraduate and graduate students and is offered bi-annually as an 8-week program during summer and winter vacations. Although 8 weeks is relatively short period of time, the students receive training at businesses involved in international development cooperation and complete individual research projects and presentations. The internship serves as a tool for education, offers students experience in connecting academia and industry, and also allows them to share their fresh perspective on ODA.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.